The Sanskrit word Paschimottanasana means ‘westward stretch’ or forward bending asanas, and this asana is one of the more powerful stretches in hatha yoga. It’s an effective stretch for lengthening hamstrings, relieving back pain, increasing flexibility in the spine, and releasing tension from the lower back. In this post, we are going to cover Paschimottanasana’s benefits that is beneficial for your health. So stick to this post till the end to know everything about Paschimottanasana.
Paschimottanasana is a yoga pose that helps to lengthen the hips in preparation for sitting postures.
It can be done by either lying on your back with your legs fully extended, or sitting, and then bending forward from the hips so that your chest is resting on your thighs. The full version of Paschimottanasana (पश्चिमोत्तानासन) stretches the lower back and spine, but it can also be practiced with a chair for those who are less flexible. This pose also provides relief from chronic headaches or migraines by massaging the scalp and easing the tension that may have built up in our heads due to stress and everyday activities. Let us dive into the benefits of Paschimottanasana, how to do it.
To do this Paschimottanasana yoga pose
- Sit on your shins with your knees pulled up to your chest or folded down one by one. You may use a blanket or rolled mat under you if it’s too difficult to sit cross-legged on the floor.
- Lengthen your spine and rotate your torso to the left, finding a twist by feeling the movement in your ribcage and lower back.
- Place your left hand on the floor behind you or on your left thigh.
- Stretch your neck to the right, then turn up to look over your left shoulder.
- If you can twist farther, place your right hand on the floor behind you or on top of the other ankle.
- Gaze over your right shoulder for an additional spinal twist and possibly lower back stretch. You may place a pillow or bolster under each knee for support if necessary.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Benefits of Paschimottanasana
This Paschimottanasana position is beneficial because it:
- Gives deep relief from tension in the lower back.
- Opens up the side body and releases tension from hip rotators.
- Opens up the chest and upper back, stretching the shoulder blades, spine, pectorals, and quadriceps (front of the upper leg).
- Increases flexibility in the spine.
- Stretches hamstrings and increases circulation to those areas.
- Stretches the lower abdominals and relieves pressure from the organs.
- Strengthens the calves, glutes, and knees.
- Strengthens the arms, hands, shoulders, and elbow joints.
What are the benefits and contradictions of Paschimottanasana?
Those with a history of lower back problems, neck pain, or shoulder injuries should be cautious about twisting to the point of strain.
- Do not attempt this pose if you have sciatica (pain that originates in your hips and shoots down your leg).
- Avoid this pose if you have glaucoma or ear infections.
- Try to do this pose on a non-slippery surface such as a blanket or folded mat.
- You should not practice this pose if you have had recent abdominal surgery.
Variations & Modifications of Paschimottanasana
- You can place a bolster under your legs for added support.
- For more challenges, sit up as far as is comfortable and then lift your hips upwards towards the ceiling.
- Make sure to stretch the neck, shoulders, and arms fully in this pose.
Q. Is Paschimottanasana forward bend posture?
A. Yes, it is a seated forward bend pose.
Q. How Much Time Should We Do Paschimottanasana?
A. Duration: It’s OK to hold this pose for 30 seconds in the beginning, then gradually increase the time to 3 – 5 minutes.
Q. Does Paschimottanasana Increase Height?
A. As an exercise that targets flexibility and stretches, Paschimottanasana helps with height gain.
Q. What kind of diseases can be controlled by Paschimottanasana?
A. This basic stretch, Paschimottanasana/Seated Forward Bend Pose, can help in relieving digestive problems, and migraines.